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Sunday, 30 Shevat 5773 / February 10, 2013

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Yesodei haTorah - Chapter Four, Yesodei haTorah - Chapter Five, Yesodei haTorah - Chapter Six

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Yesodei haTorah - Chapter Four

Halacha 1

These four bodies: fire, wind, water, and earth are the fundamental [elements] of all the creations below the sky. Everything that exists - [be it] man, beast, fowl, crawling creature, fish, plant, metal, precious stone, pearl, building stone, mountain, or lump of earth - the body of all these [entities] is a combination of these four fundamental [elements].

Thus, all the bodies which are found below the sky, with the exception of these four bodies, are a combination of matter and form,1 and their matter is a combination of these fundamental [elements]. These fundamental [elements], however, are a combination of matter and form [as they exist in a hylian state] alone.

Halacha 2

The tendency of fire and wind is to ascend upwards from the depths of the earth toward the sky. The tendency of water and earth is to descend from the sky to the midpoint of the sky, [i.e., the center of the Earth,] for the midpoint of the sky is the lowest point, below which nothing is lower.2 These tendencies are not a conscious matter, nor are they willful. Rather, it is a pattern affixed within them and a nature they were given.

The natural characteristics of fire are that it is warm and dry. It is the lightest of all [these fundamental elements]. Wind is warm and moist. Water is cold and moist, and earth is dry and cold. It is the heaviest of all [these fundamental elements].

Water is lighter than earth. Therefore, it is found above it. Wind is lighter than water. Therefore, it hovers above it. Fire is even lighter than wind.

Since these are the fundamental [elements] for all the bodies below the sky, the matter of every single body - man, animal, beast, fowl, fish, plant, metal, and stone - is a combination of fire, wind, water, and earth. [In the process of] the combination of these four, each one of them changes while they are being combined. Thus, the combination of the four [fundamental elements] does not resemble any one of the [elements] as it exists alone. [Similarly,] in any combination of them, there cannot be found even one portion of fire as it exists alone, wind as it exists alone, water as it exists alone, nor earth as it exists alone. Rather, they have all changed and become a single body.

Each and every body which is a combination of these four [fundamental elements] will have a combination of cold and warmth, moistness and dryness. There are some bodies which have a more powerful [concentration] of the fundamental [element] of fire - for example, creatures with living souls. Accordingly, they have a higher temperature. [Conversely,] there are some bodies with a more powerful concentration of the element of earth - for example, the stones. Accordingly, they are very dry. Similarly, some of them have bodies with a greater concentration of the element of water. Accordingly, they are moist.3

In this manner, one may find one body which is warmer than another body, which is itself warm, and one body drier than another body, which is itself dry. Similarly, there are bodies in which cold alone is noticeable, and other bodies in which moistness alone is noticeable. In some bodies, cold and dryness are equally noticeable; in others, warmth and dryness are equally noticeable; in others, warmth and moistness are equally noticeable; and in others, warmth and moistness are equally noticeable. According to the predominance of the element that is found in the essential combination, the inclination and nature of that element will be expressed in the body [resulting from] a mixture [of all the elements].

Halacha 3

Every entity which is a combination of these four fundamental [elements] will ultimately decompose into them.4 Some will decompose after a mere few days, and others will decompose after many years. [However,] it is impossible for everything which is a combination of them not to decompose into them. It is impossible even for gold and ruby not to decompose and return to their fundamental elements: a portion becoming fire, a portion water, a portion wind, and a portion earth.

Halacha 4

Since every [entity will] decompose and separate into these four fundamental [elements], why was Adam told: "You will return to dust," [implying that man will return to dust alone]? Because the major part of man's composition is from dust. 5 every [entity that] decomposes will not return to the four fundamental [elements] immediately. Rather, it will decompose and change into another entity. That entity will, in turn, change into another entity, until ultimately, it will return to the elements. Thus, all entities are constantly returning [to their elemental state] in a cycle.6

Halacha 5

These four fundamental [elements] are in a constant [state of flux], with a certain portion - but never the entire matter - of one changing into another every day and every hour.

What is implied? A portion of the earth which is close to the water changes, dissolves, and becomes water. Similarly, a portion of the water which is close to the wind changes, evaporates, and becomes wind. A portion of the wind which is close to the fire changes, goes through a metamorphosis, and becomes fire.

Similarly, a portion of the fire close to the wind goes through a metamorphosis, changes, contracts and becomes wind. The wind which is close to the water changes, contracts, and becomes water; and the water which is close to the earth changes, contracts, and becomes earth.

This [cycle of] change [proceeds] little by little over the course of time. The entire fundamental [element] will never change – [for example], all the water will never become wind, nor all the wind fire – because it is impossible for [the existence of] one of the four fundamental [elements] to be nullified. Rather, a portion of the fire will change to wind, and a portion of the wind to fire. Similarly, between each pair of these four, change will go on in an unceasing recurrent cycle.

Halacha 6

This [cycle of] change is caused by the revolution of the sphere. Its revolution causes the four [fundamental elements] to combine, and thus forms the matter of men, living beasts, plants, stones, and metals.

God gives each body the form appropriate to it through the angels of the tenth [level], which are the form called ishim.7

Halacha 7

You will never see matter without form, or form without matter.8 It is the heart of man which in its knowledge considers the bodies that are found and knows that they are a combination of matter and form.

It appreciates that there are bodies whose matter is a combination of the four fundamental [elements],9 bodies whose matter is simple and contains only one type of matter,10 and forms which have no matter and cannot be seen by the eye.11 [The latter] are discernible only to the eye of the heart. [We can appreciate their existence, just] as we know of [the existence of] the Master of everything, [though we do] not see [Him] with [our] eyes.

Halacha 8

The soul of all flesh is the form which it was given by God. The extra dimension which is found in the soul of man is the form of man who is perfect in his knowledge. Concerning this form, the Torah states [Genesis 1:26]: "Let us make man in our image and in our likeness" - i.e., granting man a form which knows and comprehends ideas that are not material, like the angels, who are form without body, until he can resemble them.[This statement] does not refer to the form of the body perceived by the eye - i.e., the mouth, the nose, the cheeks, and the remainder of the structure of the body. This is referred to as to'ar (appearance).

It is not the soul found in all living flesh which allows it to eat, drink, reproduce, feel, and think. Rather, knowledge is the form of this [dimension of] soul and it is concerning this form of the soul, that the verse states: "in our image and in our likeness." Frequently, this form is referred to as nefesh or ruach. Therefore, one must be careful regarding these names, lest another person err regarding them. Each name reveals its characteristics.

Halacha 9

The form of this soul is not a combination of the fundamental [elements] into which it will ultimately decompose, nor does it come from the neshamah so that it would require the neshamah, as the neshamah requires the body. Rather, it is from God, from heaven.

Therefore, when the matter [of the body], which is a combination of the fundamental [elements], decomposes, and the neshamah ceases to exist - for [the neshamah] exists only together with the body and requires the body for all its deeds - this form will not be cut off, for this form does not require the neshamah for its deeds. Rather, it knows and comprehends knowledge which is above matter, knows the Creator of all things, and exists forever. In his wisdom, Solomon [gave this description (Ecclesiastes 12:7)]: "The dust will return to the Earth as it [originally] was, and the ruach will return to God who granted it."

Halacha 10

All these concepts which we have explained in this context are like a drop in a bucket. They are deep matters. Nevertheless, their depth does not approach the depth of the subject matter of the first and second chapters.

The explanation of all the subject matter in the third and fourth chapters is referred to as Ma'aseh Bereshit (“the work of Creation”).The Sages of the early generations commanded that these matters should not be expounded upon in public. Rather, a single individual should be informed about them and taught them.

Halacha 11

What is the difference between the subject matter of Ma'aseh Merkavah and the subject matter of Ma'aseh Bereshit? The subject matter of Ma'aseh Merkavah should never be expounded upon - even to a single individual - unless he is wise and capable of understanding, [in which instance,] he is given fundamental points.

[In contrast,] the subject matter of Ma'aseh Bereshit may be taught to an individual even though he is incapable of comprehending it with his own powers of understanding [alone]. He may be informed about everything that he can possibly know about these matters. Why are they not taught publicly? Because not every person has the vast knowledge necessary to grasp the interpretation and the explanation of these matters in a complete manner.

Halacha 12

When a person meditates on these matters and recognizes all the creations, the angels, the spheres, man, and the like, and appreciates the wisdom of the Holy One, blessed be He, in all these creations, he will add to his love for God. His soul will thirst and his flesh will long with love for God, blessed be He.

He will stand in awe and fear from his humble, lowly, and base [nature] when he compares himself to one of the great and holy bodies, how much more so when comparing himself to the pure forms which are separate from matter and do not share any connection with it. He will see himself as a vessel full of embarrassment and shame, empty and lacking.

Halacha 13

The matters discussed in these four chapters concerning these five mitzvot are what the Sages of the early generations termed the Pardes, as they related: "Four entered the Pardes...." Even though they were great men of Israel and great Sages, not all of them had the potential to know and comprehend all these matters in their totality.

I maintain that it is not proper for a person to stroll in the Pardes unless he has filled his belly with bread and meat. "Bread and meat" refer to the knowledge of what is permitted and what is forbidden, and similar matters concerning other mitzvot. Even though the Sages referred to these as "a small matter" - for our Sages said: "'A great matter,’ this refers to Ma'aseh Merkavah. `A small matter,’ this refers to the debates of Abbaye and Ravva" - nevertheless, it is fitting for them to be given precedence, because they settle a person's mind.

Also, they are the great good which the Holy One, blessed be He, has granted, [to allow for] stable [living] within this world and the acquisition of the life of the world to come. They can be known in their totality by the great and the small, man or woman, whether [granted] expansive knowledge or limited knowledge.

FOOTNOTES
1.

Here and in the following halachot, the word "form" refers to the entity's spiritual qualities, and not its physical shape.

2.

Since the heavens are spherical, anything past the midpoint of the Earth can be considered to be "higher" when approaching from the opposite side.

3.

From the above statements, it appears that the "fundamental elements" of fire, wind, water, and earth are different from the entities to which we generally refer with these names.

4.

Note the similarities to the concept of entropy.

5.

This statement appears to contradict the statement in Halacha 2 that creatures with souls are predominantly from the element of fire. It is possible to explain that Halachah 2 refers even to animal life, while this halacha refers explicitly to man. Man's body – being predominantly from earth – is less refined than that of the animals. His soul, however, is on a much higher level that the animal's life-force.

6.

The cycle of change is discussed in the following halachah.

7.

Bereshit Rabbah 10:6 states: "There is no blade of grass that grows without having a spiritual force... telling it to grow."

8.

Every entity in this world has physical matter and a spiritual life force. However, the two cannot be separated from each other. The matter cannot exist without the life force, nor can the life force be discerned by human eyes except through its expression in a body.

9.

This refers to the creations of our physical world, as explained in Halachah 2.

10.

This refers to the spheres and the stars. As explained in Chapter 3, Halachah 3, and Chapter 2, Halachah 3, they are composed of a different type of matter from the creations in our world.

11.

This refers to the angels. As explained in Chapter 2, Halachah 4, they are spiritual beings without material bodies.

Yesodei haTorah - Chapter Five

Halacha 1

The entire house of Israel are commanded regarding the sanctification of [God's] great name, as [Leviticus 22:32] states: "And I shall be sanctified amidst the children of Israel." Also, they are warned against desecrating [His holy name], as [the above verse] states: "And they shall not desecrate My holy name."

What is implied? Should a gentile arise and force a Jew to violate one of the Torah's commandments at the pain of death, he should violate the commandment rather than be killed, because [Leviticus 18:5] states concerning the mitzvot: "which a man will perform and live by them." [They were given so that] one may live by them and not die because of them. If a person dies rather than transgress, he is held accountable for his life.

Halacha 2

When does the above apply? With regard to other mitzvot, with the exception of the worship of other gods, forbidden sexual relations, and murder. However, with regard to these three sins, if one is ordered: "Transgress one of them or be killed," one should sacrifice his life rather than transgress.

When does the above apply? When the gentile desires his own personal benefit - for example, he forces a person to build a house or cook food for him on the Sabbath, he rapes a woman, or the like. However, if his intention is solely to have him violate the mitzvot, [the following rules apply:] If he is alone and there are not ten other Jews present, he should transgress and not sacrifice his life. However, if he forces him [to transgress] with the intention that he violate [a mitzvah] in the presence of ten Jews, he should sacrifice his life and not transgress. [This applies] even if [the gentile] intended merely that he violate only one of the [Torah's] mitzvot.

Halacha 3

All the above [distinctions] apply [only in times] other than times of a decree. However, in times of a decree - i.e., when a wicked king like Nebuchadnezzar or his like will arise and issue a decree against the Jews to nullify their faith or one of the mitzvot - one should sacrifice one's life rather than transgress any of the other mitzvot, whether one is compelled [to transgress] amidst ten [Jews] or one is compelled [to transgress merely] amidst gentiles.

Halacha 4

If anyone about whom it is said: "Transgress and do not sacrifice your life," sacrifices his life and does not transgress, he is held accountable for his life.

When anyone about whom it is said: "Sacrifice your life and do not transgress," sacrifices his life and does not transgress, he sanctifies [God's] name. If he does so in the presence of ten Jews, he sanctifies [God's] name in public, like Daniel, Chananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues. These are those slain by [the wicked] kingdom, above whom there is no higher level. Concerning them, [Psalms 44:23] states: "For Your sake, we have been slain all day, we are viewed as sheep for the slaughter," and [Psalms 50:5] states: "Gather unto Me, My pious ones, those who have made a covenant with Me by slaughter."

When anyone about whom it is said: "Sacrifice your life and do not transgress," transgresses instead of sacrificing his life, he desecrates [God's] name. If he does so in the presence of ten Jews, he desecrates [God's] name in public, nullifies [the fulfillment of] the positive commandment of the sanctification of [God's] name, and violates the negative commandment against the desecration of God's name.

Nevertheless, since he was forced to transgress, he is not [punished by] lashing, and, needless to say, is not executed by the court even if he was forced to slay [a person]. The [punishments of] lashes and execution are administered only to one who transgresses voluntarily, [when the transgression is observed by] witnesses, and [when] a warning [was given], as [Leviticus 20:5] states concerning one who gives his children to [the worship of] Molech: "I will turn My face against that person."

The oral tradition teaches [that we can infer]: "that person" and not one who is forced [to transgress, who transgresses] inadvertently, or [who transgresses] because of an error. If, concerning the worship of false gods, which is the most serious [of sins], a person who is forced to worship is not liable for karet, nor, needless to say, execution by a court, how much more so [does this principle apply] regarding the other mitzvot of the Torah? [Similarly,] regarding forbidden sexual relations, [Deuteronomy 22:26] states: "Do not do anything to the maiden."

One who could, however, escape and flee from under the power of a wicked king and fails to do so is like a dog who returns [to lick] his vomit. He is considered as one who worships false gods willingly. He will be prevented from reaching the world to come and will descend to the lowest levels of Gehinnom.

Halacha 5

If gentiles tell [a group of] women: "Give us one of you to defile. If not, we will defile all of you," they should allow themselves all to be defiled rather than give over a single Jewish soul to [the gentiles].

Similarly, if gentiles told [a group of Jews]: "Give us one of you to kill. If not, we will kill all of you," they should allow themselves all to be killed rather than give over a single soul to [the gentiles].

However, if [the gentiles] single out [a specific individual] and say: "Give us so and so or we will kill all of you," [different rules apply]: If the person is obligated to die like Sheva ben Bichri, they may give him over to them. Initially, however, this instruction is not conveyed to them. If he is not obligated to die, they should allow themselves all to be killed rather than give over a single soul to [the gentiles].

Halacha 6

Just as these principles apply regarding being forced [to transgress], they also apply regarding sicknesses. What is implied?

When a person becomes sick and is in danger of dying, if the physicians say that his cure involves transgressing a given Torah prohibition, [the physicians' advice] should be followed. When there is a danger [to life], one may use any of the Torah prohibitions as a remedy, with the exception of the worship of false gods, forbidden sexual relations, and murder. Even when there is a danger [to life], one may not use them as a remedy. If one transgresses and uses them as a remedy, the court may impose the appropriate punishment upon him.

Halacha 7

What is the source [which teaches] that even when there is a danger to life, these three sins should not be violated? [Deuteronomy 6:5] states: "And you shall love God, your Lord, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might." [The words "with all your soul" imply] even if one takes your soul.

With regard to the killing of a Jewish person to heal another person or to save a person from one who is compelling him, it is logical that one person's life should not be sacrificed for another. [The Torah has] established an equation between forbidden sexual relations and murder, as [Deuteronomy 22:26] states: "This matter is just like a case where a person rises up against his colleague and slays him."

Halacha 8

When does the above - that one may be healed using other prohibitions only when [one's life] is in danger - apply? When one uses them in a way which affords satisfaction - e.g., when one feeds a sick person insects or creeping animals, or chametz on Pesach, or when one is fed on Yom Kippur.

When, however, [the prohibited substances are used] in a way that does not grant satisfaction - e.g., one makes a bandage or compress of chametz on Pesach or from orlah, or when one is given bitter-tasting substances mixed with forbidden foods to drink - since one's palate derives no satisfaction, it is permitted even when no danger to life is involved.

Exceptions [to this leniency] are kilai hakerem and [mixtures of] milk and meat. [Deriving benefit] from them is forbidden even in a way that does not offer satisfaction. Therefore, they may not be used as a remedy even in a manner which does not grant satisfaction, except when there is danger [to life].

Halacha 9

[When] someone becomes attracted to a woman and is [love-]sick [to the extent that] he is in danger of dying, [although] the physicians say he has no remedy except engaging in sexual relations with her, he should be allowed to die rather than engage in sexual relations with her. [This applies] even if she is unmarried.

He is even not to be given instructions to speak to her [in private] behind a fence. Rather, he should die rather than be given instructions to speak to her behind a fence. [These restrictions were instituted] so that Jewish women would not be regarded capriciously, and [to prevent] these matters from [ultimately] leading to promiscuity.

Halacha 10

Whoever consciously transgresses one of the mitzvot related in the Torah, without being forced to, in a spirit of derision, to arouse [Divine] anger, desecrates [God's] name. Therefore, [Leviticus 19:12] states, regarding [taking] an oath in vain: "[for] you are desecrating the name of your Lord; I am God." If he transgresses amidst ten Jews, he desecrates [God's] name in public.

Conversely, anyone who refrains from committing a sin or performs a mitzvah for no ulterior motive, neither out of fear or dread, nor to seek honor, but for the sake of the Creator, blessed be He - as Joseph held himself back from his master's wife - sanctifies God's name.

Halacha 11

There are other deeds which are also included in [the category of] the desecration of [God's] name, if performed by a person of great Torah stature who is renowned for his piety - i.e., deeds which, although they are not transgressions, [will cause] people to speak disparagingly of him. This also constitutes the desecration of [God's] name.

For example, a person who purchases [merchandise] and does not pay for it immediately, although he possesses the money, and thus, the sellers demand payment and he pushes them off; a person who jests immoderately; or who eats and drinks near or among the common people; or whose conduct with other people is not gentle and he does not receive them with a favorable countenance, but rather contests with them and vents his anger; and the like. Everything depends on the stature of the sage. [The extent to which] he must be careful with himself and go beyond the measure of the law [depends on the level of his Torah stature.]

[The converse is] also [true]. When a sage is stringent with himself, speaks pleasantly with others, his social conduct is [attractive] to others, he receives them pleasantly, he is humbled by them and does not humble them in return, he honors them - even though they disrespect him - he does business faithfully, and does not frequently accept the hospitality of the common people or sit with them, and at all times is seen only studying Torah, wrapped in tzitzit, crowned with tefillin, and carrying out all his deeds beyond the measure of the law - provided he does not separate too far [from normal living] and thus become forlorn – to the extent that all praise him, love him, and find his deeds attractive - such a person sanctifies [God's] name. The verse [Isaiah 49:3]: "And He said to me: `Israel, you are My servant, in whom I will be glorified'" refers to him.

Yesodei haTorah - Chapter Six

Halacha 1

Whoever destroys one of the holy and pure names with which the Holy One, blessed be He, is called is liable for lashes according to Scriptural [Law].

[This punishment is given because such an act violates one of the Torah's prohibitions. The prohibition is derived as follows:] With regard to the worship of false gods, [Deuteronomy 12:3-4] states: "And you shall destroy their names from this place. Do not do this to God, your Lord."

Halacha 2

There are seven names [for God]:

a) The name which is written Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey. This is [referred to as God's] explicit name and is [also] written Alef-Daled-Nun-Yud.

b) [The name] El;

c) [The name] Elo'ah;

d) [The name] Elohim;

e) [The name] Elohai;

f) [The name] Shaddai;

g) [The name] Tz'vaot;

Whoever erases even one letter from [any of] these seven names is [liable for] lashes.

Halacha 3

All [the letters] which are connected to [God's] name, [but are placed] before [the name itself] may be erased - e.g., the lamed of Lamed-Alef-Daled-Nun-Yud or the bet of B’Elohim and the like. They do not possess the same degree of holiness as [God's] name [itself].

All [the letters] which are connected to [God's] name, [but placed] after [the name itself] - e.g., the final chaf of Elohecha or the chaf and the final mem of Eloheichem, and the like may not be erased. They are considered like the other letters of [God's] name, because the name conveys holiness upon them.

Although holiness is conveyed upon them and it is forbidden to erase them, nevertheless, a person who erases these letters which are connected to [God's] name is not [liable for] lashes. However, he does receives "stripes for rebelliousness."

Halacha 4

If one writes the alef and the lamed of the name Elohim or the yud and the hey of the name Yud-Hey–Vav–Hey, [these letters] may not be erased. Needless to say, the name Yud-Hey [may not be erased]. It is [considered as] a name in its own right because it is part of [God's] explicit name.

However, if one writes the shin and the dalet of the name Shaddai, or the tzadi and the bet of the name Tz'vaot, [these letters] may be erased.

Halacha 5

Other descriptive terms which are used to praise the Holy One, blessed be He - e.g., the Gracious, the Merciful, the Great, the Mighty, the Awesome, the Faithful, the Jealous, the Powerful, and the like, are considered as other holy texts and may be erased.

Halacha 6

[When God's] name is written on a utensil, one should cut off [God's] name and bury it. Even [when God's] name is engraved on a metal or glass utensil and one melts the utensil, one should be [punished by] lashing. Instead, one should cut off [God's] name and bury it.

Similarly, if [God's] name was written on one's flesh, one should not wash or anoint oneself. Nor may one stand in a place of filth. If it occurs that such a person must immerse because of a mitzvah, he should wind reeds around [the name] and immerse himself. If he cannot find reeds, he should wind his clothes around it, but should not [wind them] tightly so they will not intervene [between his flesh and the water]. [This is acceptable because] the reason he is required to wind reeds around it is only because it is forbidden to stand before [God's] name when he is naked.

Halacha 7

A person who removes even one stone from the altar, the Temple building, or the Temple courtyard with a destructive intent is [liable for] lashes. [The prohibition is derived as follows:] with regard to the worship of false gods, [Deuteronomy 12:3] states: "And you shall tear down their altars," and [the following verse] continues: "Do not do this to God, your Lord."

Similarly, a person who, with a destructive intent, burns wood consecrated to the Temple is [liable for] lashes. [The prohibition is derived as follows:] with regard to the worship of false gods, [Deuteronomy 12:3] states: "And you shall burn their asherot with fire," and [the following verse] continues: "Do not do this to God, your Lord."

Halacha 8

It is forbidden to burn or to destroy by direct action any sacred texts, their commentaries, and their explanations. A person who destroys them by his direct action is given "stripes for rebelliousness."

To what does the above apply? To sacred texts written by a Jew with a sacred intent. However, should a Jewish heretic write a Torah scroll, it and the name of God it contains must be burnt, since he does not believe in the sanctity of [God's] name and did not compose it for this purpose. Rather, he considers this to be similar to any other text. Since this is his intent, the names [of God he writes] do not become holy.

It is a mitzvah to burn it so that no remembrance will be left of the heretics or their deeds. In contrast, if a gentile writes [God's] name, it should be buried. Similarly, sacred texts that have become worn out or which were written by gentiles should be buried.

Halacha 9

All the names [of God] written in [the passage concerning] Abraham [and the angels] are sacred. Even [the name of God in Genesis 18:3]: "My Lord, if I have found favor in Your eyes," is also sacred. All the names [of God] written in [the passage concerning] Lot are not sacred, except [Genesis 19:18-19]: "And Lot said to them: `0 God, no! I have found favor in Your eyes... and You have saved my life.'"

All the names [of God] written in [the passage concerning] the hill of Benjamin are sacred. All the names [of God] written in [the passage concerning] Michah are not sacred. All the names [of God] written in [the passage concerning] Navot are sacred.

Every mention of the name "Shelomoh" in the Song of Songs is sacred, except [8:12]: "You, Shelomoh, may have the thousand." Every mention of the word "king" in the Book of Daniel is not sacred, except [2:37]: "You are the King, the King of kings." Its status is like other descriptive terms [for God].

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A brachah (blessing) is like rain. Just as rain benefits only the plowed and sown field, but a field lying waste, unplowed and unsown, will benefit from neither soft rain, nor the early or later heavy rains -- so, too, a blessing will benefit only one who prepares himself to receive it...
  –Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov
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